Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Worship by the Campfire at Okuma

It is kind of hard to see the pictures, my camera is not that good in the dark. We were so blessed to just sit by the fire and worship the Lord. God is so awesome. In the day I went out investigating in the neighborhoods out in the countryside. It was so amazing to me, to see these small villages. But what blew me away was the realization that most of the people up here have never heard of Jesus Christ. While I drove through this village, there was a house that had been torn down. I stopped and gestered to an old Okinawan man and asked him if I could take some of the old wood. He stated that I could take all I want. We had so much wood for the next two nights. Big chunks of hardwood, that burned for a long time. We had a roaring fire for hours. The Worship was sweet, the fire was hot, God is so good.

Okuma Beach Resort

Bible College is busy, so we took the students on a three day retreat to Okuma Beach Resort. We got away for a few days to just relax, seek the Lord, and unwind. As you can see in the pictures, it was beautiful. Gerson was loving it. In Germany, it is freezing cold, and while his buddies are trying to thaw out in Seigen, he is basking in the sun in Okinawa. (bottom right picture). Double click on the pictures to get a closer look.

This is our Campground, we own it!

These guys are getting a little to into the Survivor Series. These are four bad dudes. This is what it was like for three days, board shorts, t-shirts, and lovin it. In the background are the cabins that the guys stayed in. Two cabins for the guys, and one for the gals. It was a blessing.

Our own private beach

Secluded and all ours. Hedo point is in the background. We traveled to this beach, and had lunch together. Some ate, some slept, but it was such a blessed experience.

Where's Matt?

Can you see him in this first picture? Look close, he is there.

I am getting old. Hopefully these guys are not going to give me a heart attack. They are some adventurous dudes. Yes, they did bring medical insurance with them. I tell them to be careful, but they always find "safe" places to meditate on the Lord's creation. After we left this spot, we headed out to the secluded beach in the backgroud. There we had our famous "peanut butter and jelly" sandwiches. The waves are always rough here at Hedo Point. Rough, but so beautiful. God bless you all, Pastor Tommy

Bible College Students at Hedo Point

The students were blessed with the opportunity to spend three days up north at Okuma Resort. We had a mini retreat for the students, and they had a blast. As you can see, the three days that we were there were absolutely gorgeous. We were so blessed.

Joanna Bessman

Hello everyone! Let me introduce to you Joanna Bessman. She has always been such a blessing to us. We first met Joanna when she went went with us on a missions trip to Hawaii. Joanna has also been here to Okinawa and has fell in love with this island. This is a picture of her at the Women's retreat at Murrieta Hot Springs, and above is a picture of her in Mexico on an outreach to La Posada in Rosarito Beach. Please continue to pray for Joanna, as she is seeking the Lord on what He would have her do next. She is praying about coming and serving here in Okinawa. We love you girl, keep going forward for Jesus.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Andre Jones Retires after 27 years of Service

Andre is an incredible witness for Jesus Christ. He always has a smile on his face and an uplifting encouraging word to give for you. He has served 27 years in the Navy, many of them under the Command of the United States Marine Corps. Andre (pictured right between Pastor Tom and Pastor Rick) will be heading home back to the United States in a couple of weeks. We had the privilege of attending his retirement service here in Okinawa. It was such an honor to be there and to see the many distinguishing accomplishments that Andre has fulfilled. I will personally remember Andre as we would always see him in the Gym about 7am in the morning. We would just be getting started, but Andre was already working out. Before 7am he had already ran his 5k, and be finishing up, getting ready for his day. God bless you Andre, may the Lord continue to lead and guide you. Pastor Tommy

Wild Papaya

We were near the jungle in Ginowan, and we saw these Papaya trees, so Gerson helped himself. We picked a few of them and brought them back to the College. We will wait until they ripen and dig in. Papaya's grow everywhere here on the island. I like Mango's better myself, but in the stores they cost about $50.00 dollars for a package of 4. I will wait until we go to the Philippines, they cost much less there.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Doorway to the afterlife

In Okinawa, there are many places where the Okinawan's believe are "spiritual sites". Here is one of them. They believe that this is a doorway into the next world. When people die, they enter and exit through this passageway, so, this place is sacred. Okinawan Yuta's will come to places like this and pray for situations and others, they pay them to do so. Jesus Christ said "I Am, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me". Please pray for us, that we will reach the beautiful Japanese Okinawan people with the Love of Jesus Christ

Morikawa Spring

This is a very special place in Ginowan City. This Spring has been here for hundreds of years. The Okinawan people back in the day, used to come here bath, wash clothes and worship their ancestors. It is a beautiful place. Let me try to give you a little more Okinawan History. Okinawan mythology tells us that many years ago, one of the gods had a daughter. She had this magical flowing gown, and she came to this spring from the heavens to bath. While she was bathing an Okinawan man saw her and hid her clothes. When she was done bathing, she looked for her clothes but the man hid them. The man told her if she would marry him that he would give her clothes. She did, and afterwards she had two sons. One day, she found her mystical cloths and flew back into the heavens. Her two sons later became the first Kings of Okinawa (Ryukyu). So, the Okinawan's believe that they are descendants of the gods.
Well this place reminds me of another story that is told to us in the Bible, John chapter 4. Jesus was by a well, and a woman came to Him and He asked her for a drink. The woman ended up having a converstion with Jesus by this well. Later the lady realized that this man Jesus was special, and ran back into the city to tell all of her friends. The whole village came out to see Jesus, and recognized Him as the Christ, the Messiah, who would forgive them of all their sins.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Broken Finger

What a bummer! Matt was not even here a week before he broke his finger. We were invited to Nate's house for some pizza and the guys went to the park to play some football. On one of the first passes, Matt went to catch the ball and whammm! It hit his finger wrong. He broke his pinky. The pictures were too gruesome to show you live, but this is a real x-ray that the doctors took when he went to the hospital. He is doing fine now. Even when he was hit, you never heard a whimper out of him. Well, being a missionary is tough people. You never know where the injuries might occur. But seriously, please continue to pray for the safety of all the Bible College Students. God bless you, Pastor Tommy

Devotions at CCBC Okinawa

Every week, someone new leads in worship and different people share in a devotion. In the middle picture is Mark Starr. He always does a wonderful job in leading us into the presence of the Lord. In the upper left is Amber, and to the right is Michael. They both did devotions for us on separate days. It really is a blessing to begin your days in Worship to the Lord and in His Word.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Developing the New Koinoinia Cafe Website

We are in the process of developing a website for the Koinonia Cafe. It is starting to come together. Our goal is that people will be able to click onto the website and see what's going on during the month. Please continue to pray for the Koinonia Cafe, we believe that God wants to do wonderful things through this ministry. Check it out for yourself;

Memorial Peace Park

We were so blessed to visit Memorial Peace Park and Himeyuri Monument. It was a good relaxing day. We had lunch out there on the lawn, so much food. It is always a blessing everytime we get to go and see the island. Every week is a new adventure.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Flashback Boys

This picture was recently sent to us from one of our missionaries that we support at w2 (Worship/Word). His name is Welai Yang (left). The picture was taken back in High School. I don't know how long ago. Maybe Pastor Tim (right) can give us a comment below and tell us when this was taken. In the middle is Royce Rull, he is on staff at CCLivingwater. Good picture boys. Isn't it incredible to see that all of you guys are in ministry, serving the Lord full time. God bless you, may the Lord continue to use you for His glory. Pastor Tommy

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Homemade Pizza's at 6' 7" Nate's

Thank you Josh and Nate. The guys invited all the Bible College Students over Nate's house for homemade pizza. It was so good. Everyone was stoked. Pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Thanks a lot guys for blessing the students. The night out was great! God always does wonderful things for us all.

First official Men's Breakfast

God put it on the heart of Mark Davis to start a men's breakfast here at the Koinoina Cafe. It was such a blessing to see all the guys show up. Joanna and Amber cooked an awesome breakfast, we ate so much. Mark gave us an encouraging message out of Luke 4. We are scheduling this breakfast every third Saturday morning at 8am. Next time, if you can, come and join us.

Mochi making at CCBC Okinawa

Friday afternoon we were blessed with a great treat. Satsukosan came over to the Bible College and taught us how to make Mochi (japanese rice dessert). It was awesome. First you have to beat the rice with a large hammer (top left), then you have to form the rice (top right). Afterwards you add whatever toppings you would like. My favorite is strawberry jam and fresh strawberries (bottom right). It was such a blessing for all of us. Thank you again Satsukosan.

Boys in Training

photos by Gerson and Daniel

The guys were just messin around. Here in Okinawa there are at least 25,000 servicemen and women always stationed and ready for deployment. Here they are trying on some kevlar helmets and flack jackets. Boys will be boys, just messin around.